The city has posted, on its website, answers to questions posed by residents about the controversial proposal by Yachting Solutions to expand its marina as well as any city plans for changes to its waterfront facilities.

A public forum was held Feb. 14 at Rockland City Hall concerning the projects. The city had Rockport Planning Board Chair John Alexander serve as facilitator for the latter part of the meeting. He wrote down questions posed by the public and said city officials and company officials would answer those questions.

After that meeting, Rockland Mayor Valli Geiger said she was frustrated because she thought the questions would be answered that night.

The answers were posted Friday, March 2 by the city on its homepage. There were 51 questions and answers posted on the website which can be reached from this link.

No further meeting has been scheduled but the city has promised to hold additional meetings for public comment.

One question posed was "What is the future proposed expansion of the marina really about, what is not being said?"

The response posted by the city stated, "Unfortunately no exciting conspiracies to uncover, what you see is a concept based on meetings of an informal group, including engineers, marine contractors, property owners, city officials and YS. The group took into account challenges of the inner harbor as presented by the harbor master and created a concept plan that addressed those issues creating inner harbor protection from the YS side of the harbor and improving public access to the municipal waterfront. What the group would like to get is true constructive input about what works and what doesn’t from the public’s perspective. Therefore changes can be made on the concept plan, based on that input and suggestion to present to the city council for consideration as a more detailed inner harbor master plan. I’m sure we haven’t thought of everything and the public has very good ideas. Please take the time to review the entire concept, not just the Boat Basin side of the concept, and weigh in on it all. I think that’s the only thing not currently being said."

Another questioner asked if the initial part of the expansion, similar to what was approved in 2008, would have an impact on the usage of the harbor.

"We will strive to maintain the south channel if City Council wishes to do so. The uses of
the harbor should not change based on the B.I.G. area and docks proposed with the
exception of moorings in the inner harbor. The footprint will affect fishing while the
floats are in the harbor. During the summer months, ordinance calls for no lobster gear
inside the central mooring areas.

Yachting Solutions received a federal Boating Infrastructure Grant in July 2017. City Manager Tom Luttrell said last month that city officials were contacted in October or early November about the grant.

In another answer, the city stated that a city ordinance lists the southern channel in Rockland Harbor and the city has the authority to maintain it.

The city also stated in response to another question that based on some cursory review of deeds, "there are no restrictions that protect view to the harbor and access to the harbor walk. The harbor walk is described in the DEP permit as providing public access during daylight hours, however there is nothing preventing the land owner from redeveloping the property and terminating or relocating the current configuration."

Rockland Harbor Park LLC owns the land where the wooden boardwalk is located. Rockland Harbor leases another section of its property to Yachting Solutions.

In response to question about why the city has not applied for a grant to rebuild Rockland's infrastructure, the city responded that it has.

"In the recent two years the city has applied for six different grants, five of which were
awarded. These include a new pump out station at the public landing, rebuild the South
End boat ramp with new floats/piles, and fish pier rehabilitation. The total awarded as of Feb. 22 is roughly $662,000. If the City Council wants to move ahead with the
proposed Buoy Park/Middle Pier proposal we would then apply for more grants."

A possible long-term plan calls for wave breakers that would offer protection for that section of the harbor. The wave breakers, however, would bisect the southern channel — a move that is strongly opposed by many residents and boat owners. The wave breaker is not part of the initial plan for more docking space and floats along where the boardwalk is located.

Another part of the overall dream plan would be to relocate the harbormaster's building to Buoy Park. Ripley said for the building to be out of the floodplain it needs to be moved back at least 14 feet and raised three to four feet. Moving the building would allow the city to perform earthwork leading up to the public landing to eliminate a steep incline.

The boardwalk would be extended from next to the current location of the harbormaster's building to past the middle pier.

The city has stressed that none of that would be done without grant support.